I don’t actively seek out anime programs to watch, but [adult swim] has a funny way of introducing me to new shows. After I get my fill of animated absurdity from their comedy block, there’s always some weird anime show. That’s how I got hooked on the Big O and now I find myself attracted to the mystery of Paranoia Agent.
I’m not a huge anime fan, so I can’t impress you with trivia about how this show is from the guy who did this other supposedly great series or whatever. Further, this show doesn’t have big robots or big-eyed children running around with swords. Paranoia Agent is a deliciously twisted take on people’s insecurities and fears and the extents that people go to resolve their conflicts. The show’s presentation is mostly realistic but there are out-of-sync elements.
The premise of the story is that there’s a mysterious young man on gold in-line skates that goes around bashing people in the head with a golden bat. The thing is, while the attacks are brutal, most of the victims are somewhat relieved by their encounter with the boy, known as “Li’l Slugger.”
While that in itself may seem weird, there are two detectives who are running around trying to catch Li’l Slugger and find a connection between the attacks. Each episode so far is a standalone take on one of the character’s issues and how they’re resolved. There are some things connecting everything together — the detectives and Lil Slugger for starters. Additionally, there’s some mysterious old infirm guy (who I think is the real Li’l Slugger) and some weird purple puppet named Marumi which somehow seems connected to it all.
The thing that brought me into this show was the main credits — everyone is laughing through a series of shots of weird settings while some insidious J-pop anthem plays in the background. Why are they laughing? Why are they standing on a table, in a ruined building, on a mountain top or on a microwave tower with a mushroom cloud in the background?
There’s so many little mysteries about the show that I just wait to see how they unfold.
Paranoia Agent airs Saturday nights at midnight and 3 a.m. on [adult swim]